How Do You Achieve A "soft" But Clear Sound ?

Maybe a bit strange topic title but often (especially drums/percussion) I think the sounds is getting on my nerves :)
If I listen to “commercial”, e.g. the hihats have a “soft” but clear sound.
I guess the “clarity” comes from a proper mix but how do one achieve that soft sound ?

If the way to go is to filter it please let me know what kind of settings you would go for.

I would say eq and compression rather than filtering but sometimes a filter will do. The settings depend a lot on the original sound and the best way to learn is by trial and error over and over again.

Ok, I’ll guess it’s that trial and error again :)

It’s difficult to know exactly what sound you are after. Based on what you are describing, it’s probably a number of different things, but I would use a filter with light compression. Probably a band-pass filter, but you’ll have to experiment. A filter, in a real generic sense, is similar to an EQ to but works more with groups of frequencies. You could also try just a simple EQ and cutting above 8khz. The compression, though – you’ll probably want a slow attack and a very short release – is what will “fatten up” the sound, which is what I’m guessing by what you call soft. What you could do, too, is find an excerpt of a sound you are looking for and analyze the frequencies used. This will at least give you a ballpark idea of what you are looking for.

Thanks for the advice, I’ll add that to the list of trials to do.

I know exactly what this is you’re talking about, and, I have the explanation:

Microphone technique and sample quality.

There are millions of different microphones and ways of recording sounds. There are different levels of quality in sampling technique as well. It’s likely that the sounds that you are annoyed with were recorded poorly with proximity effect issues and were don’t by cheap low quality digital sampling equipment. You pay big bucks for good gear and that soft but clear sound.

You can fake it to an extent with EXCELLENT mixing, but good luck.

Interesting, so if you then need to rely on samples, don’t have all those drums and mics so ;)
Do you know of any perticular libraries with high quality samples that doesn’t have this perticular issue (open for anybody to answer of course) ?

the vengeance(dont think thats spelled correctly)sample cds,are quality

I can definitely recommend Native Instruments’ Kontakt 3 as well as the good old KORG Libs (Digital and Analog Collection :-))

If it comes to drum samples the AKAI Drum Collection sounds really great although these are “real” drum sounds, no techno/house/trance-related synthetic instruments.

Hope that Helps



Thanks for the tips guys, will look these up.

As you scan the web for sample libraries, check and see if the seller offers them as treated or untreated. In other words, processed or unprocessed. It’s also good if the seller is open to his/her sampling technique and explains what mics he/she used along with previews. Personally, I think it would be cool if the seller video taped some of his/her process of the end product, though I have not searched for such existence.

Read up on mics. It helps in the long run. Parabolic mics are pretty interesting. Plus having your own mics gives you the freedom to sample anything from whacking that annoying alligator to the conversations you have in your sleep.